The Mandalorian Season 2 achieved some remarkable feats in a year full of pop culture delays and disappointments: It outperformed the previous season with an exhilarating, action-packed eight-episode arc; it offered a weekly break from the hellscape of 2020; it set up no fewer than three spinoffs without detracting from the main story, and it pulled off a jaw-dropping cameo that outperformed even the original Baby Yoda reveal in the series premiere.
Given that any other big piece of casting details leaked online before the season premiered, it’s especially remarkable that executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni were able to keep that one a secret.
The only disadvantage to The Mandalorian being a TV show is that you can imagine how those scenes might have worked on a big screen with a packed audience (the rapturous ending of Rogue One comes to mind); but, there’s something magical about being able to witness the reach and size of Star Wars in ways we could never have imagined as kids in the comfort of your own home.
As a lifelong Star Wars fan, it’s exciting to see the universe grow week after week, revealing details about parts of the galaxy that have only been discussed in passing but never explored in such depth on film.
Even the most self-contained installment (episode 2, “The Passenger”) included some necessary character development for our titular hero, forcing him to confront the idea that caring for a child isn’t only about physical safety, but also about what you teach them about personal responsibility.
Season 2 never lost sight of the relationship at its heart, carefully cultivating Mando and Baby Yoda’s bond and allowing Pedro Pascal to excavate new layers in Din Djarin’s personality, despite juggling a slew of new characters like Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano, who were being prepared for their own spinoff shows.
Din’s worldview was challenged throughout the season, and he was pushed out of his comfort zone to the point that each small move forward felt like a giant leap, culminating in a triumphant and emotionally resonant season finale that was fully won in terms of his character development.
The second season of The Mandalorian is a work of art as well as commerce. It focuses on the characters and relationships that are most important to the overall plot while still devoting enough narrative real estate to create other characters and motives, setting the groundwork for a vast interconnected universe that will provide us with our Star Wars fix for many years to come. It’s a tough needle to thread, but Filoni and Favreau pull it off with ease.
The second season of The Mandalorian was one of the most ambitious seasons of television in recent memory, progressing the continuing tale of Mando and Baby Yoda while also setting the groundwork for three spinoff shows and a seismic change in narrative focus that will inevitably come in Season 3.